I OWE IT TO YOU: WHY NEVER FORGETTING THOSE WHO FOUGHT FOR YOUR RIGHTS IS IMPORTANT

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“For those who died, I thank you.”


As a young man born in the year 1987, I did not experience those turbulent years of the Civil Rights Movement. Now my parents on the other hand saw the tail end, and there’s of course the generations prior. So as a child, I grew up going to school, eating where I wanted, and using public restrooms. Not once did I understand how I got to that point. All I knew is that when someone needed to go to the bathroom, you went. But what I didn’t know until my mother sat down and talked with me, is that it was not always like that in America. And that I should never forget why I am able to do what I do.

And she reminded of this because for the longest there were not only demographics of citizens, but an entire systematic push to keep me from having the basics of necessities. So as I went to school, I always performed well academically because she reminded me at one time how illegal it was for me to go Image result for white onlyto the schools I went to in America. Whenever I used a restroom, she not only told me, but we watched the video footage of Black men and women being attacked just for trying to consume a meal or urinate at public rest stops. So my reason for not getting into trouble is not mainly because of the enforcement of the judicial system, but more so by way of these men and women who died. There are unmarked graves of countless Black people who gave their lives, a lot of which you will never know their names.

So now as an adult, I do so much because they really didn’t have to pave that way. Still today, some of those individuals from that time period are here with us. People who were either teenagers or adults in the fight. And even at times when I see things differently than they do, I can never hate. I can never hate those who Image result for civil rights movementsacrificed so much for me. And no, these men were not the reason I got into my college of choice or landed a job I wanted. But it was because the pressure they placed that made companies even look in my direction. America didn’t want me to have those rights, and had it not been for these men and women, how long would Jim Crow have really lasted. 90 years,  100 years, 200 years; when was the appropriate time to end segregation.

We all would like to think that those types of events had to end, but why? If not for fighting for rights, whose to say? You have of course the critics, yet their voices are to a great degree irrelevant to me. A country tells you to go fight and defend your country, but when you return don’t sit at this table counter. Then you can’t Image result for al and jessesay my country, because in my country you eat where you choose. Otherwise it’s your country, and if I am the lesser, then why are you depending on a lesser to fight for what is yours. So thanks to the men and women who challenged the ideologies of what I am and what was expected of me. For it was you who reminded me before you’re Black, you’re a man, and before that you’re human. You weren’t fighting for my freedom of speech, but my freedom to exist. You did in the past, and still in the present. So despite what the critics think and feel you have my love and respect.

In the end, I dedicate this life of mine to you. Those who fought who are still alive and to those who died in the struggle: Al Sharpton, Alex Haley, Andrew Young, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Barack H. Obama, Bobby Seale, Booker T. Washington, Cornel West, Denmark Vesey, Dick Gregory, Dred Scott, Eldridge Cleaver, Elijah Muhammad, Fred Hampton, Frederick Douglass, Gabriel Prosser, George Washington Carver, Harriet Tubman, Harry Belafonte, Huey P.Image result for black historyNewton, Ida B. Wells, Jackie Robinson, James Baldwin, James Meredith, James Weldon Johnson, Jesse Jackson, Jim Brown, John Lewis, Kathleen Cleaver, Louis Farrakhan, Madam C. J. Walker, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Martin Luther King Jr., Mary McLeod Bethune, Maya Angelou, Maxine Waters, Medgar Evers, Muhammad Ali, Nat Turner, Ralph Abernathy, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm, Sojourner Truth, Stokely Carmichael, Thurgood Marshall, W. E. B. Du Bois, and many others who were lesser known or even unknown, yet gave their lives for me. I love you, “WE” love you.


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RACIALLY CONSCIOUS: HOW BEING IMPARTIAL IN A DIVIDED NATION CAN BE TOUGH

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“It exist, but to what degree?”


Growing up in the Midwestern state of Wisconsin, I never really thought about race. And when I say race, I’m not referring to the human race. I’m talking about being an African American male. I could visibly tell the students in school were different than myself, yet it was not much of a discussion. The schools were predominantly White, while I grew up in a majority Black and Hispanic neighborhood. I would hear things regarding issues with being Black. I heard how people would say it was harder to get employment, going to certain schools, or even dating in monogamous relationships. Yet it never quite sunk into my mind, until I got older. And that’s when the experiences started to take hold in my life.

Experiences ranging from looking throughout my childhood at how the teacher student relationship was different with the White students versus the Black students. Or even how walking up the street I noticed non-Black people were put off by my presence. But still, the relationships I had with students in school was quite enjoyable. No one treated the other person like an outsider. And all the kids in school would go over each other’s house on the weekends. So what was it that so many people were talking about really? Well, I began to see once leaving my mother’s house going to an out-of-state-college.

I attended two universities, the first being in the state of South Carolina. The school was a historically Black College in Columbia, South Carolina and most of the students came from the south. Attending this school was actually a culture shock because even though we were all the same ethnic group, I didn’t quite seem to fit in. And that’s when I realized, that even though I grew up in a majority Black community, I didn’t spend much time in the community. With so much going on that my mother didn’t want me apart of, I was in school and sports. So what happened, oddly enough, is that I lost a connection with other Black students at the school.

Feeling homesick, I returned back to Wisconsin to attend a university about twenty minutes from where I grew up. This rural campus was attended by multiple ethnic groups of students. It would be the campus where I graduated. But, while back in Wisconsin, I had a situation one time where I was eating in the cafeteria. Seeing a young White male I went to middle school with, we got our lunch and headed toward a table. Then I noticed a situation I had never come in contact with before. One table had mostly Asian students, one table had all Black kids, the Hispanics sat together, and the White kids sat together. My friend and I walked near a table that was mostly White, and for the first time in my life I felt uncomfortable.

Growing up, my mother raised me with the impression that you had to deal with every group of people. Yet now, I was forced to make a racial decision. Everyone else sat with what made them comfortable, but what was I to do in this space. So, for me, throughout undergrad, I kept my distance from a lot of people. And actually, I never really experienced a college life. But even after college, and entering graduate school, I started to see more of a divide. But not only the divide, but how important it is in society. I have sense taken on views that are different than how my mother raised me.

One of which is the idea of interracial dating. Growing up, I probably would have said sure, but seeing the strain of an interracial relationship, I’m not sure I could handle it. I couldn’t handle the family tension, nor making the woman choose me or her existence. My views changed where I live because I still live in a Black neighborhood. That feeling of safety is why I have decided to stay. That common bond that you share with the people. And it’s a whole lot easier socially as well. Yet I am trapped between how I was raised and the society I live in today. I was raised to be more impartial, but that’s not my life experience in our country.

And in the end, no matter how you’re raised you have to live in this society. It’s great to have these idealistic views of the world, yet they are not fully true. It shouldn’t, but ethnicity matters: where you live, who you date, friends you tend to make, and how you view society. It’s an imperfect society, but it’s the only society we have. Do I see it changing, maybe, but not in the foreseeable future.


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1619: HOW FAR HAVE WE COME AS AFRICAN AMERICANS

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“What happens when identity has to be recreated?”


Two years from now will be the year 2019, which will mark the 400 year period since the first Africans were brought to America. So much between then and now has happened, and the question now remains. How far have Black people come in America and how far do we still need to go? Let’s take a look in the past for just a moment. Imagine, each person, coming from their respective tribes, with their respective cultures. Being dragged to a new land, not knowing what was in store once you got there. Trying to understand why looking out into the sea you can’t find the river banks from which you came to return back home. And now you’re in this new place for life, with people you don’t know.

Fast forward to today, where we have been for almost 400 years. But, we have really only had rights since about the early 1970’s. That means African Americans have been experiencing freedom for roughly 45 – 50 years. You america, architecture, famousmight say, how so? Well, freedom allows you to vote, which we couldn’t do until coming into the 1970’s from the 1960’s. Freedom says you can go to any school you want to attend. But in the 1970’s and even as early as the 1980’s institutions were resistant in letting Blacks attend. Freedom grants you housing wherever you want to live, which is even more recent than the right to vote. Freedom grants the privilege to marry who you want without question. Laws on books forbid interracial marriage in various states in this country. The only progressive environment that has moved with more pace has been sports and the United States Armed Forces.

But what still needs to happen. Because we have poor education in inner city communities. There is a disproportionate number of violent crimes and a breakdown of the family. What’s interesting is that this is more of a recent phenomenon. If you look into the past, two parent households were the norm in the Black community. Black people had close nit communities, crime was nearly nonexistent, and overall morale was in tack. So what does that mean, we have to back track and lose our rights again to have control over our communities. Is there some sort of trade off, “You go back to segregation and then life will change.” Or is it more simple than that?

For example, I look at Chicago, a city that is plagued with crime, and also my father’s place of birth. And he has stated that it is a mixture of heavy Whtie and Black Police Car on Roadgang recruitment and lack of establishment by the law because of politicians not doing their jobs. It has been a rogue city for quite some time and with more and more schools closing, yet children are not being placed in other districts, problems are going to really climb. Which brings me to my next question. If schools are closing and countless kids are left in these inner city areas without a school home, should we start to home school as a community? Should Black people disregard the public school system in cities like Chicago? I mean, they’re shutting them down anyways, why not.

And that is the lead in to my next question, What is in the future? America is changing more and more everyday, and if we are not prepared issues will worsen. And not really on just a racial side, but economic. In today’s society, there is still not adequate access in poor areas to a lot of opportunities. Or is it? Black people are one of the largest demographics of smart phone users. That is a tool for learning all on it’s own. Which brings me to the next phase, putting yourself in the know. Those who are willing to put themselves in the know can and will elevate no matter what their economic circumstance or ethnic background. Having that mobile device means you do now have access to a lot of opportunities.

You may say how so? Well, this is not your mother and father or grandparents generation. Google search engine and YouTube has allowed access to what was once the unknown the know. For example, I Black Samsung Tablet on Google Pagelearned to write screenplays, my books, setup my website, and build social media all through tutorials on YouTube and searching through Google. So if we are big smart phone users, then we have the access in hand. All it takes is the attempt to sit and learn. Open yourself up to the opportunities that lie ahead. So, in the end, we have to do something. Life is getting harder by the day; and not just for us, everyone. Adjusting to the major technological shifts that will happen is a must in succeeding in life. If you are not bent on learning and broadening your base, then that America dream you want will no be anywhere within your sights.


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WHY WE ARE THE WAY WE ARE (QUOTE)

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“In time, man shall face judgement for all of our transgressions.” “For there is no greater lost, than when the potential to make our world better is stripped from us prematurely.” 

– Faheem Jackson

BLUE CODE, BLACK CODE

“Will it ever end?”

It has ben a little over 5o years since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 48 years since the Civil Rights Act of 1968. And I ask the question, how much has really changed since the 1960’s. And I am not just speaking of the laws, but a relationship. A relationship between two groups of people who have shared land with each other spanning a total of 300 plus years. Yet the relationship between the two is still polarizing. And what do I mean by the two groups; I’m speaking of Black and White Americans.

Let’s start with the term White and Black Americans. I focus on this first and foremost because these two colors have been used as more of a social construct rather than a real ethnic focus. In this country we like to place emphasis on skin color, not to promote diversity, but it’s almost as if we use this to designate enemies. This is why the whole idea of radical Islam terrifies people because you really can’t put a face to the belief. But in the case of Black and White, where does this fragmented relationship come from.

I ask this question because there has been yet again another shooting of a Black male this time in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Now you’ll get some Black people on one side that say he disobeyed the police orders. And on the other side, you’ll get a few White men and women that will be on the side of the Black male shot. But for the most part Black will say innocent Black male was shot and Black Lives Matter, White will say do as you’re told and Blue Lives Matter.

I tend to believe that this reaction is more than just a coincidence. In addition, as much as the media places emphasis on this issue, it goes deeper than the television or internet. My belief is that racial bickering (and when I say race I’m not talking human race, but race socially), comes from how this country was designed. Black and White fighting isn’t the failure of America, but it’s actually the success of what the building of this country was intended for in the beginning.

To better gauge why the two ethnic groups still differ we must look at the beginning and work our way forward. In the early 1600’s, there were an original few Africans brought to what is now the United States as Indentured Servants. What does that mean? That means that they had to serve for a small period of time, serve meaning labor. After that time period was up, the indenturee was not bound by the indenture. Now what’s interesting is that there were White men and women bound to the same indentured servitude. The only problem is that the market viewpoint was that Africans were cheaper. Because slavery was coming to fruition. This meant that the Europeans who were indentured were not held forever and it was merely choice. Why invest money in them when there is a system of forced labor against ones’ will taking hold? Economically it made since, so White indentured servitude declined, while Blacks in slavery increased.

All throughout slavery, the relationship was outlined and accepted. Blacks were the underlings who served and bowed to Whites. The Whites were the masters who enforced their will and beliefs. Even the poorest of White men and women in America were still above the Blacks. Very important this previous sentence.

Why was that sentence so important about poor Whites being above Blacks. This is why. Once slavery ended, there was a lot of animosity. Not just at the idea of Black people being freed, but at the Union from the Confederate South. Confederates saw the Civil War as nothing more than a way to cripple the south and not about freeing Black people held against their will. Also very important because Abraham Lincoln himself owned slaves, yet they were not freed even with the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation. Now how does this all fit into poor Whites.

Well after slavery, at least being White meant they had an upper hand over Blacks. But with slavery over now there is this feeling of, “really.” “You mean to tell us we are no better than them.” Factions of Whites broke off, mainly individuals still with a bitter taste over the war and the freedom of slaves. From this you have such organizations like the White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan that born and rapidly spread. We see them today as a group of poor angry White men and women who can’t get over the past. But what we must realize is that in their heyday, these men and women had power, so much power that they could politically influence the presidency.

Yet, that too came to pass with the signing of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1968. Once again, another monumental documentation that left mixed feelings not only from White people, but Black as well. Keep this in mind about Black people getting angry. We will discuss this later in detail as to why Black people might be upset about the ending of Jim Crow. As for now, with the ending of Jim Crow, there was also another problem brewing. This problem was something no one saw coming. That was the issue of narcotics entering the Black community. After Jim Crow ended, prosperity looked promising, but instead there was an era of drugs and crime taking shape in Black communities nationwide. Mixed with the lack of jobs and various other opportunities post Jim Crow, young Black males turned to selling drugs as a way into generating an income.

Well you ask yourself, what about all those good Black fathers? Around this time another problematic systemic policy took hold in the Black community, and that was the welfare system. A policy that doled-out government funding to working poor mothers. The catch was the father couldn’t be present. So now you have narcotics, fatherless homes, and young boys with no guidance. This was a perfect recipe for disaster. This was an in, an in for what would be described as a new era of Jim Crow relationships.

Law enforcement was brought into the equation, and not just any. Cities like Los Angeles and Oakland recruited police preferably from southern cities who had experience dealing with Black people. Note how I said experience with dealing with Blacks. This was not a very good relationship and would create a new host of problems. After heroine hit from the late 1960’s to the late 1970’s, powder cocaine in the 1970’s into the 1980’s came next. From the 1980’s into the 1990’s a new drug hit called Crack Cocaine. So here you go, young Black males with absentee parents, policed by predominantly White male cops, and both having views of each other over throughout history already. Black males finding themselves growing up in the middle of gang and drug zones and police who didn’t discern between those who were criminal and those who weren’t. 

This all brings us to today. With the recent shootings from the police we ask ourselves, what’s the end game. There seems to not be one because every time it seems the White, Black relationship is getting better something else pops up. But remember when I said after Jim Crow, there were Black and Whites upset. Well for the Black people who were upset you look back. Blacks had their own schools, hospitals, banks, small businesses, and host of other jobs during segregation. Fast forward to today, and it seems things are worst now. So in a way there seems to be this discontent feeling. Maybe ending Jim Crow was a bad idea considering we had our own stuff then. Once we became equals we relinquished a lot and became fragmented.

Whatever the case may be, with this latest shooting, it seems like that clock has been set back yet again. From my understanding, it has to do with a feeling. To change people’s mindset, you have to change sentiment. That is a lot harder to do. How do you get Black and White people on the same page? You have to eliminate the terms White and Black from the American psyche. So much so that when a Black or White person look at each other we see American, and not a hue. How do you do that in a country where we have been made to feel like opposites for so long. I wish I knew; I truly wish I knew.

Social Illusions

“White Privilege is a real fallacy.”  

What is the held definition for what White Privilege means? The meaning for this is the privilege afforded to one group of people that is not similarly given to another group. One group may be given the benefit of doubt over another because one group of people is seen of having the upper hand over another. This has been a subject of debate whether or not this even exist. I have my own theory as to what White Privilege means.

From my understanding as to what White Privilege means, I look at it as an illusion. It’s difficult to understand if you are not in the know. Putting yourself in the know is very important. So it goes like this, a White female is assaulted and says a Black guy did it. The police quickly arrive. Black people’s upset comes from the idea that Blacks are not afforded the same protection; White Privilege. The next example is when the White Privilege becomes the illusion.

In New York City was a protest called, “Occupy Wall Street.” The protest arised from the collapse of the market due to the 2008 economic downturn. People showed up with tents and camped out near the economic epicenter of America. These protesters comprised of mostly White males and females. Eventually the protest was broken up by the police of the NYPD. Protesters came across the Brooklyn and was met by officers with batons and pepper spray. The outcome was in newspapers and televised across the country.

What everyone failed to realize was that White Privilege was not brought up during this violent exchange. What’s odd is that this was time to address the illusion of White privilege. This was the time for people to come together, but it didn’t happen. Why didn’t it happen because people were sleep and distracted. All they had to do was open their eyes and see that White People had confronted the same system Black people have fought against. The problem is that for some reason the collective don’t believe Black and White people are in the same boat in America.

We say we see each other in the same position, but we still don’t believe it. The real problem is that few want to be the voice over the masses. Race socially is used as a tool to distract the people from the real problem which is the leaders in a country. Another problem is that the face until Obama, and still for the most part has been a White face attached. This confuses the people racially. Basically, White and Black people may have ended problems with each other in the past if another group of people gained control of the country over both of us. But since the power structure has always been mostly White males, it appears White people are the issue, but it’s a human thing. Man wanting control over man.

America is such a tough place to live because we accept so many social aspects of this country that actually mean nothing. Our society is so built to make people have conflicts that are so unnecessary. Once people realize how irrelevant it truly is, then they’ll feel awful about how much time we’ve actually spent focusing on nothing. But, see me, I don’t think that people are that oblivious. I think people know the game we play regarding race is garbage. But who has the guts to go after the politics head-on. No one wants to die nor lose anything else they’ve worked for. So what now, we live distracted; distracted by the things that go on around us with blinders. Blinders over our eyes until the country can no longer remain blind folded and are forced to face the harsh reality that our society was built to keep people separate. And that our beliefs are nothing more than an extension of what our system has built to keep us separate.

What’s Black and White?

Recently in the news, the topic of race and racism has popped it’s head once again. Let’s first be clear, Race is the classification of a species with similar physical characteristics. We as humans are one race that belong to the same group. Now there are other species that are similar to humans; the obvious being Apes. There is a one percent difference between us and our Ape friends, which is fairly close. Racism is the prejudice against a race that is different than your own, more often seen as ones’ superiority over another race. So let me get this straight, Humans are racist against chickens. No, humans are racist against cows, but that doesn’t make sense either. So how can two people from the same species be seen as racist against another. Well, that’s where social relationships come into place. A human is not capable of being racist being that we belong to the same race. But man has figured out a way to get the same species to feel that one group within the same species is better or the lesser in comparison to the other. How does manage to happen? If we evolved together how do you convince people that race is different? Well, from the out of Africa theory that stated we evolved in present day Ethiopia, and later ventured out into the world. Given that we didn’t have internet to connect us, as time went on, and we evolved, we eventually met up with our long lost ancestors. But there were no records of the out of Africa theory, they just ventured out. So with that said, there’s no wonder why groups of people clashed and fought with each other. Eventually conquering lands and forcing each other in slavery and other forms of subjugation and persecution.

As far as America is concerned, we have a color construct that exist in our nation. This color line has been in this country going back a few centuries. It didn’t start with the Native Americans, but with the Trans Atlantic Slave trade. There had to be e method to keep people from blending together because had this had happened, the slave owners would be wiped from existence. How, well for example, Black and White gives way to a more Black looking child. When that child is with Black, then the is still related to the White relative by blood, yet the stand a chance of being full Black. Now those words pop up again; Black and White. What is Black and White? Is it a color or more so is it an idea of some sort? Because yes, skin color can be classified as White of Black, but the idea of Black or White in America or the Americas is a social construct. For example, a man from France and a woman from Italy are actually interracial because they belong to two separate groups within the race that is human. But in America, they are seen as a White man and a White woman. How and why does this happen is a topic of discussion. From my understanding this is done so as to make people think they are different for self preservation reasons. Ethnically, America is extremely diverse, but color boundaries make creates fewer groups in the country. This is where you get the fight between Blacks and Whites.

Black people for the most part, due to the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade are unable to trace their ancestry. So anyone who bares our resemblance typically falls under that category. Germans, Polish, Dutch, Irish Italians, Sicilians, Spaniards, English, Portuguese, Swiss, etc. fall under White. Now Asians are different than Europeans, but Russians who are Asians, fall under White in America. Africans new to America fall under Black, and anyone East of Russia and the Middle East are considered East Asian. Japanese, Chinese, Koreans, Tai, Vietnamese, Cambodian, etc. belong to the East Asian community. Now Latinos are interesting because Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, Dominicans, Colombians, Venezuelans, Chileans, Argentines, and Brazilians all are under this category. But some of these people look more African so they fall under Black in the Americas and those that bare the resemblance of Europeans fall under White. So a Cuban that looks European is White in the United States and a Cuban that looks African is Black in the United States. Now both of them are from the same country, but become different as they come to the U.S.A. And why is this you say, once again self preservation.

But not also self preservation, but also as a way to designate your enemy. We place a color label so we can keep almost like a tab on groups of people we perceive to be different that ourselves. What ruins this whole plan is Latin America in the United States. Because a Dominican can be considered Black in America or White in America, but are of Mixed ancestry. You see how confusing it all is to someone who is from America, so understandably it will be to a foreigner. Another wrench throw into the game is religion. The United States has become so enthralled with labeling by way of skin color, we try to capture this same judgement with religion and it can fall short. This is why the fight against radicals using Islam to push their cause can be tough. Religion is a belief, with less than 1/3 of Muslim from Saudi Arabia and over 1 billion worldwide it’s nearly impossible to label. In the U.S.A., color constructing allows for you to go, this group is to blame for this and that group is to blame for that; how can you do this with religion. For example, Islam states that if life is threatened and death is imminent, act as your enemies to stay alive. How do you label a group that can easily blend into society if worst comes to worst. I’ll tell you how we come up with labels because we do it through Black and White. We use Black and White to categorize so much that we try to implement it via religion and it falls short.

The confusion of not being able to label puts some groups at what they consider a disadvantage. If we can not say what’s Black or White or Brown, how can one continue to oppress or place blame on another. Well Black and White are slowly moving away from color to an overall idea. Black is perceived as the lesser and White is seen as more in charge. With these color constructs slowly fading, eliminating into nonexistence, man must now choose a new paradigm. The new paradigm socially is class to place people in groups. Black and White will still be the idea for what’s rich and poor, good or bad, but social class will make it so that a poor White person (skin color) is Black (socially) and a rich Black person (skin) is White (socially). The confusion will forever exist as long as man continues to find ways to control the masses by making us feel we are more different than we are similar.